What Is Advent?

Hide-an-seek was my favorite game growing up. The strategy of securing the perfect hiding place, the frantic scurry to hide, the thrill of the count, holding my breath as I heard the seeker getting closer … it was almost too much pressure for my little heart to take.

The lessons learned in hide-and-seek are lessons we can carry with us throughout life: the ability to think under pressure, the integrity to not look while counting, the self-control in remaining silent for long periods of time as well as the pure joy of playing a game with friends, just to name a few.

Too often, however, I treat my relationship with God like a game of hide-and-seek. I run and try to hide from Him (as if He cannot see me!). At times I even hold my breath and don’t talk to Him. I figure that if He can’t find me, He can’t ask me to change.

There’s just one problem with that thought process: We can’t hide from God.

To God everything is exposed: all of our faults, imperfections, personal secrets but also all of our talents, traits, successes and achievements … that’s the good news. The even better news is that God is always seeking you and me.

‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19:10).

That is one of reasons why the Church gives us the season of Advent. Over the four weeks preceding Christmas, we prepare not just for Jesus’ coming as a baby in a manger but also for His Second Coming. The word Advent means ‘to come,’ and the Church, with great wisdom, nudges us with a ‘wake-up call’ to ensure that we are honest with our God and in right relationship with Him before He comes again.

God is seeking you. Are you hiding from Him? If not, good. If so, stop. You have no reason to hide yourself from Him.

He loves us even more than we love ourselves, so let Him. He’s coming back at some point. The fact is only scary if we’re not where we need to be in our relationship to God. A relationship with Jesus is all fun without any of the games.

Advent is a beautiful gift, so seek God and make the season one of depth and of honesty. Expose your soul before God and allow Him to love you for who you truly are: a sinner in need of His mercy, a work in progress.

As hide-and-seek reminds us, ‘Ready or not, here He comes.’

‘Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?’ Psalm 139:7

*Excerpt from “Ask the Bible Geek 2.” Available in the Life Teen Online Store.

About the Author

Mark Hart

It is very difficult to walk away from a conversation with Mark Hart without a smile on your face. Mark has a genuinely joyful soul and is the creative mind behind a countless number of Life Teen resources. A twenty year veteran of youth ministry, Mark has served Life Teen since most of the staff was still in Elementary School, and currently serves as our Executive Vice President. When he’s not laughing, Mark can rarely get through a conversation without mentioning how amazing and beautiful his wife Melanie is or how his four children are the coolest kids you’ll ever meet. Oh… and he’s also an internationally known speaker and best-selling author, but, you know, that’s just how he spends his “free time.”